Questions: Among older people receiving inpatient rehabilitation, does additional supervised physical activity lead to faster self-selected gait speed at discharge? Does additional supervised physical activity lead to better mobility, function and quality of life at discharge and 6 months following discharge?
Design: Multi-centre, parallel-group, randomised controlled trial with concealed allocation, assessor blinding, and intention-to-treat analysis.
Participants: Older people (age>60years) from two Australian hospitals undergoing rehabilitation to improve mobility.
Intervention: Participants received multidisciplinary care, including physiotherapy. During hospital rehabilitation, the experimental group (n=99) spent additional time daily performing physical activities that emphasised upright mobility tasks; the control group (n=99) spent equal time participating in social activities.
Outcome measures: Self-selected gait speed was the primary outcome at discharge and a secondary outcome at the 6-month follow-up. Timed Up and Go, De Morton Mobility Index, Functional Independence Measure and quality of life were secondary outcomes at discharge and tertiary outcomes at the 6-month follow-up.
Results: The experimental group received a median of 20 additional minutes per day (IQR 15.0 to 22.5) of upright activities for a median of 16.5days (IQR 10.0 to 25.0). Gait speed did not differ between groups at discharge. Mean gait speed was 0.51m/s (SD 0.29) in the experimental group and 0.56m/s (SD 0.28) in the control group (effect size -0.06m/s, 95% CI -0.12 to 0.01, p=0.096). No significant differences were detected in other secondary measures.
Conclusion: While substantial gains in mobility were achieved by older people receiving inpatient rehabilitation, additional physical activity sessions did not lead to better walking outcomes at discharge or 6 months.
Trial registration: ACTRN12613000884707. [Said CM, Morris ME, McGinley JL, Szoeke C, Workman B, Liew D, Hill KD, Woodward M, Wittwer JE, Churilov L, Danoudis M, Bernhardt J (2018) Additional structured physical activity does not improve walking in older people (> 60 years) undergoing inpatient rehabilitation: a randomised trial. Journal of Physiotherapy 64: 237-244].
Keywords: Exercise therapy; Hospitalisation; Mobility limitation; Randomised controlled trial; Rehabilitation.
Copyright © 2018 Australian Physiotherapy Association. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.